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  #1  
Unread December 16th, 2004, 01:53 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Red vs. blue explained by white birth rate & Darwinian rational

Explanation of red versus blue states based on white birth rates and Darwinian rational, probably lacking political sensitivity and correctness, but the stats look reasonably convincing—Excerpts from The American Conservative, http://www.amconmag.com/2004_12_06/cover.html, December 20, 2004 issue, The American Conservative, Baby Gap—How birthrates color the electoral map, By Steve Sailer:
Quote:
The single most useful and understandable birthrate measure is the “total fertility rate.” This estimates, based on recent births, how many children the average woman currently in her childbearing years will have. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 2002 the average white woman was giving birth at a pace consistent with having 1.83 babies during her lifetime, or 13 percent below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. This below-replacement level has not changed dramatically in three decades.

States, however, differ significantly in white fertility. The most fecund whites are in heavily Mormon Utah, which, not coincidentally, was the only state where Bush received over 70 percent. White women average 2.45 babies in Utah compared to merely 1.11 babies in Washington, D.C., where Bush earned but 9 percent. The three New England states where Bush won less than 40 percent—Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island—are three of the four states with the lowest white birthrates, with little Rhode Island dipping below 1.5 babies per woman.

Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility (just as he did in 2000), and 25 out of the top 26, with highly unionized Michigan being the one blue exception to the rule. (The least prolific red states are West Virginia, North Dakota, and Florida.)

In sharp contrast, Kerry won the 16 states at the bottom of the list, with the Democrats’ anchor states of California (1.65) and New York (1.72) having quite infertile whites.

Among the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., white total fertility correlates at a remarkably strong 0.86 level with Bush’s percentage of the 2004 vote. (In 2000, the correlation was 0.85.) In the social sciences, a correlation of 0.2 is considered “low,” 0.4 “medium,” and 0.6 “high.”

You could predict 74 percent of the variation in Bush’s shares just from knowing each state’s white fertility rate. When the average fertility goes up by a tenth of a child, Bush’s share normally goes up by 4.5 points.

In a year of predictably partisan books, one lively surprise has been What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank, a left-wing journalist from Kansas who, after a sojourn in Chicago, now lives with his wife and single child in the Democratic stronghold of Washington, D.C. Frank is puzzled by why conservative Republicans in his home state are obsessed with cultural issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and teaching evolution in the schools instead of the leftist economic populism that Frank admires in Kansas’s past.

While the Christian Right in Kansas doesn’t much hold with Darwin, they are doing well at the basic Darwinian task of reproducing themselves: pro-life Kansas has the fourth-highest white fertility in the country at 2.06 babies per woman, and the birthrate of the conservative Republicans that Frank finds so baffling is likely to be even higher. On the crucial question of whether a group can be bothered not to die out, “What’s the Matter with Massachusetts?” would be a more pertinent question. Massachusetts’s whites are failing to replace themselves, averaging only 1.6 babies per woman, and the state’s liberal Democrats are probably reproducing even less than that.

So white birthrates and Republican voting are closely correlated, but what causes what? The arrow of causality seems to flow in both directions. [The author goes on to provide his explanation for the correlations….]
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  #2  
Unread December 17th, 2004, 10:04 AM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
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Cool Political thinking and the search for grand unifying theory

Interesting slant, that birth rates influence voting patterns.

With the caveat that I'm not very sophisticated or knowledgeable at political thinking, my general impression is that there are a lot of theorists who have tried to link voting patterns to group identity in some sense, and that the history of this effort has been only partially successful.

The Marxists link choice with class identity and economic status. The religious conservatives and "progressives" link it with their particular versions of "values" identity. The racialists link it with race identity.

My unqualified suspicion is that while these are sources of leverage we draw on for political power, they may not be the reasons why people vote the way they do. For example, it seems to me that I can vote my "socio-economic class," I can vote my "race," I can vote my "values," and so on. These may lead to different votes. It all depends on how the issues have been framed and what options are open to us.

For example, given the choice of two very unappealing candidates this past presidential election, the party leaders and media successfully framed the issues in the way that best polarized and brought dramatic attention to the candidates, even though they were nearly equally conservative in general political terms and each has qualities that to me should have made neither one very attractive compared to a hypothetically optimum candidate.

Steve seems to be arguing between the lines that all whites are actually striving for genetic "white power" but that liberals just aren't being honest about it. Their point of contention, he asserts, is that liberals are angry at conservatives for their lack of racial solidarity with them. For example, he argues that gun control is about disarming dangerous urban minorities specifically. In other words, his goal seems to me to be to translate all of politics into issues of racial identity and support it with biological arguments. TO me, that frames these complex issues in a very unrealistic and undesireably narrow way, and in some ways really misses the point. But as I said, I'm not very sophisticated in this area.

I agree with him on what I think is a basic underlying assumption that political belief, like much belief, is socially motivated, but I think he is making some oversimplified assumptions about what motivates it and how, in looking for connections to broader biological explanation.

A different and compelling argument about the red and blue states, also from statistical evidence, can be found in "Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America." by Morris Fiorina. I posted a review on Amazon with some further thoughts.

kind regards,

Todd
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  #3  
Unread December 17th, 2004, 12:26 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Red vs. blue explained by white birth rate & Darwinian rational

Todd: Nice review on Fiorina’s book. I agree that most of us are “moderate.”

Nevertheless, I’ve observed more passion then I’d have expected between all of us red and blue “moderates,” and the birth rate correlation seems to explain things better than anything else I’ve seen.

I’d always boiled things down to saying people vote their pocketbook; in other words their own survival/comfort. Guess I forgot that for most of us with kids, the survival and future of our offspring usually trumps our own survival and comfort. Blame Darwin.

Singles and/or those who don’t stay married long tend to be blue. The rest, especially with offspring, tend to be red—family values. That’s why Utah is especially red. (Heavily unionized Michigan is an exception, but that’s probably due to all that industrial pollution.)
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  #4  
Unread December 19th, 2004, 12:24 PM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
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Arrow Explaining the passion (vs. explaining red/blue)

Quote:
I’ve observed more passion then I’d have expected between all of us red and blue “moderates,”
We both see "unexpected passion." The tendency of particular geographical regions to swing one way or another, when presented with extreme choices, may well have something to do with birth rates, I don't know.

But I don't see how the passion itself could be the result of birth rates. Birth rates didn't suddenly change radically in the past two elections.

What did change is the successful political alliance of economic, social, and neoconservatism under a single banner opposed to a common "liberal" enemy (few of whom would even recognize themselves as such!).

Essentially, our social stereotypes were effectively manipulated to leverage political power. Our rational fear of attack was sucessfully leveraged to promote politicians who were more successfully marketed as decisive, protective parents instead of untrustworthy, unrealistic, and overpermissive ones. Our observation of the disruption of social fabric and vulnerability to attack was successfully explained for most people in terms of creeping permissiveness and indecisiveness (the flip side of what many of us think of as freedom, caring, and wise reflection).

When people talk about "values" as deciding the past presidential election, this seems to me to refer to people feeling in their gut that they are putting their trust in someone disciplined, strict, and supporting a natural moral order.

If we all accepted this stereotype, there would be little need for "unexpected passion" against it, it would make perfect sense to nearly all of us. However, we don't all accept this stereotype.

The more conservative of the two conservative parties in the US is now marketed as the party of good discipline, parental protection, true families, life, moral authority, and simple, basic values. The less conservative party has yet to come up with their own effective marketing strategy, and has seemingly been forced to accept the way the more conservative party defines things, that they are the party of death, permissiveness, spoiled dependents, and out-of-touch elitists.

One cost of this success has been that the nuances of American conservatism have been pretty must lost by being absorbed into the common marketing vision, just as the stereotype of the "liberals" turns them into an impossibly homogeneous population.

The actual correlations that might be observed between birth rate and motivated political belief are obscured by the shifting political coalitions and the perceived pragmatic need for the parties to promote themselves as diametrically opposed ideological extremes.

Quote:
I’d always boiled things down to saying people vote their pocketbook; in other words their own survival/comfort. Guess I forgot that for most of us with kids, the survival and future of our offspring usually trumps our own survival and comfort. Blame Darwin.
We might also consider that what we perceive to be voting our own survival and comfort depends on how the issues are presented to us and the options offered to us. The above analysis seems to me to depend a lot on assuming that we are rational self-interested actors with clear common insight into what promotes our own self-interest. I'm not sure that this assumption is warranted. I suspect that our perception of what promotes our own self-interest is fairly easily manipulated.

kind regards,

Todd
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  #5  
Unread December 19th, 2004, 01:32 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: family values explained

Todd writes:
Quote:
“I suspect that our perception of what promotes our own self-interest is fairly easily manipulated.”
Perhaps Todd, if you have the right candidate. But Kerry couldn’t pull it off, and I suspect that Hillary won’t have a prayer. On the other hand, if the Dems nominate Zell Miller in 2008, many of us red state folk may turn blue.

Best I can tell, the birth rate correlation is a fact. Additionally, there’s a very high correlation between red states and the number of years people are married. So it seems to me that people who stay married and have offspring currently tend to perceive that Republicans better reflect their family values—what is best for the survival and future of their offspring. And single people and those who don't stay married long obviously tend to have different family values.
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  #6  
Unread December 26th, 2004, 09:17 PM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
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Cool U.S. politics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
Todd writes:

Perhaps Todd, if you have the right candidate. But Kerry couldn’t pull it off, and I suspect that Hillary won’t have a prayer. On the other hand, if the Dems nominate Zell Miller in 2008, many of us red state folk may turn blue.

Best I can tell, the birth rate correlation is a fact. Additionally, there’s a very high correlation between red states and the number of years people are married. So it seems to me that people who stay married and have offspring currently tend to perceive that Republicans better reflect their family values—what is best for the survival and future of their offspring. And single people and those who don't stay married long obviously tend to have different family values.
Yeah, it's a shame that's the best the dems could do, both in terms of their candidate and in terms of their marketing of their own values and the weak attempt at unity among their factions. The elephants have done a hell of a job promoting unity via their values platform, even before 9/11. I'm not sure how much was strategic and how much was just exploiting current events, but the joining of corporate and religious values into a single platform is more than I would have thought even possible 20 years ago. Birth rate or at least population density does seem to be part of the equation, but my feeling is that it might be a more indirect factor than Steve Sailer theorizes. I admittedly tend to have a bias toward "political psychology" and the effects of perception and influence rather than direct biological explanations.

If you're ever interested in the view of the current red and blue from the perspective of the left (and probably the center as well), just for curiosity ... I got the feeling from skimming Tom Frank's book "What's Wrong with Kansas?" that he captures it pretty well. I gather from some of the reviews that a few of his details on Kansas could probably be debated (perhaps he is too close there to see it objectively?) but I think he captures the general flavor.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=1551

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS.../nationbooks08

Have a Happy New Year !

Todd
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  #7  
Unread April 19th, 2005, 11:27 AM
Lizzie Pickard Lizzie Pickard is offline
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Default Re: Red vs. blue explained by white birth rate & Darwinian rational

We know that the better off people are, the more the birth rate drops. Industrialized countries have lower birth rates than third world countries, and so forth. And in our country, we see this trend as well. The bettter off you are, the fewer children you have. And the blue states are better off.

I agree that people in red states are think they looking out for their own survival needs, and this might be "darwinian." However, much as I love Darwin, I think the system of evolution by natural selection is one to get away from as fast as we can. It is a terribly tragic, cruel set up, an arms race based on selfishness, competition and greed. It is certainly a dubious criteria for "success".

One could almost say that the blue states are trying to help out the red states, (because they care what's best for all Americans, not just their own genetic offspring. And guess what! Because they do better- they have more emotional and financial resources, they end up actually paying for what the blue states don't supply for themselves. (And then get name-called as a result.)

Here is a map :

Red States feed at Federal Trough, Blue States Supply the Feed

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_b...ates_feed.html



As for "caring about values" and stable families and so forth, red states divorce a lot more . Massachusetts, which gets portrayed as having no morals, has nearly twice the number stable marriages of Texas, and that's typical of blue states
http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsUS2.shtml

So if red state "values" are really about caring about families so much, why are blue states splitting their families twice as much blue states?

People who are happier, more emotionally and financially stable are in the position to think about something other than how to feed their baby its next meal. They are able to have a "bigger picture" perspective. They are able to have a less short-sighted, less selfish, and yes, less "Darwinian" approach to life.

Last edited by Lizzie Pickard; April 30th, 2005 at 11:34 AM.
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  #8  
Unread April 19th, 2005, 08:43 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Red vs. blue explained by white birth rate & Darwinian rational

Lizzie:
Quote:
Massachusetts, which gets portrayed as having no morals, has nearly twice the number stable marriages of Texas.
Your use of the divorce rate stats that you’re using is flawed—those statistics actually reflect a divorce rate per population, rather than a divorce rate per marriage.

There are divorce rate statistics based on per marriage (from CDC data I think), and those stats seem to indicate that there is no red or blue state correlation. On the other hand, when it comes to “splitting their families,” Kerry from Massachusetts did, Bush from Texas didn’t.

Also, your use of “Red States feed at Federal Trough” statistics appears to be equally flawed, but I suspect that your beliefs lie in a left leaning blue state direction, so I won’t bore you with contrary data.

However, regarding your belief that “the system of evolution by natural selection is one to get away from as fast as we can,” it’s likely that many of my red state brethren would say, "Amen sister!"
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  #9  
Unread April 19th, 2005, 11:19 PM
Lizzie Pickard Lizzie Pickard is offline
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Default Re: Red vs. blue explained by white birth rate & Darwinian rational

from Fred:
"However, regarding your belief that ?the system of evolution by natural selection is one to get away from as fast as we can,î it?s likely that many of my red state brethren would say, "Amen sister!" "


Hahaha! But do you mean they would give me an "Amen" by denying the truth of natural selection, or getting away from it by saying, "yes, it's true, and it's an awful system!"

(Sadly I suspect it's the former.)

I can appreciate your comments about the flawed data, especially because there's a NY Times article about that very phenomenon that I was just reading (it's in today's Science section: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/19/he...pagewanted=all

It was saying national divorce rates are not the 2 in 1 figure we've been told they are, it's more like 41%. However, I was interested to find some data that again, indicated that the better off we are, the less we divorce. In this case, it "better off" indicator was the education level of the women.

"Families with highly educated mothers and families with less educated mothers are clearly moving in opposite directions," Dr. Martin wrote in a paper that has not yet been published but has been presented and widely discussed at scientific meetings.

But since 1980, the two groups have taken diverging paths. Women without undergraduate degrees have remained at about the same rate, their risk of divorce or separation within the first 10 years of marriage hovering at around 35 percent. But for college graduates, the divorce rate in the first 10 years of marriage has plummeted to just over 16 percent of those married between 1990 and 1994 from 27 percent of those married between 1975 and 1979.
To me, this data supports my earlier point, which is that how well people are doing has a lot to do with the personal choices they make (regarding their families and reproduction) the political choices they make (should we share or keep resources), and the the depth and range of their perspectives (big picture, rationality/ small picture, short term, often emotional responses to immediate problems.).
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  #10  
Unread April 20th, 2005, 09:17 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Red vs. blue explained by white birth rate & Darwinian rational

Lizzie:
Quote:
I can appreciate your comments about the flawed data, especially because there's a NY Times article about that very phenomenon that I was just reading (it's in today's Science section).
Thank God the NYT saw fit to print that because I know that for y’all left leaning blue state folk, the NYT is gospel. Even the somewhat brilliant, and effusive, Todd Stark wouldn’t accept that race was more than a “social construct” until I pointed to a NYT article that affirmed that races do exist—and I suspect that my friend still struggles with that unpleasant reality.

And regarding your point—“that how well people are doing has a lot to do with the personal choices they make (regarding their families and reproduction) the political choices they make (should we share or keep resources), and the depth and range of their perspectives (big picture, rationality/ small picture, short term, often emotional responses to immediate problems)”—I think that most red state heterosexual couples that stay married and have 1.8 children would say, again, “Amen sister.”
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